A Son of Abraham
As I grew up outside of Christ and His church, never venturing beyond the bounds of the South and Midwest, my view of the world was extremely limited and ill-informed even into my young adult years. I knew little of other lands and peoples, relegating them to history books and looking with suspicion at the occasional foreigner who crossed my path. My only exposure to other nations seemed to be quadrennial in nature, where during the Olympics, in my sports-crazed, American ego-centric ways, I would watch television hoping the USA would trounce anyone not wearing red, white and blue. Foreign lands seemed to be just that. Foreign and other-worldly to me. You could have rightly accused me of being xenophobic, but I was so ignorant I would have had no idea what it meant.
Yet this past week the Lord has reminded me again and again that He has not just changed my mind about people from other lands. He has blown it away. For one of the wondrous aspects of salvation is that you immediately become part of the family of God, a family that is nation-encompassing in scope. The believer in Christ becomes a child of Abraham, the father of many nations. The incredible event at Pentecost was not only the number of those saved, but that they were men from “every nation under heaven” (Acts 2:5). An awe is seen in the early church over the way the Lord had brought salvation to the nations of the earth (Acts 11:18). And centuries later little old me, still living in the Midwest but with an eye now that is able to look beyond it, is connected to believers all over the world simply because I belong to Christ’s church. For just this past week I was privileged to experience:
- A young lady named Juliann I had known as a girl in the Elkhart congregation sent a letter sharing about her Scriptural translation work in Papau New Guinea.
- Several college students in our congregation church shared with me desires about traveling and/or doing mission work in places as diverse as Israel, Mexico and Australia.
- I continue to rejoice in working closely with Bill VanDoodewaard, our pastoral intern from Canada, and learning more about the church there.
- Daniel, a young man who grew up in our congregation, was here last week with his wife and new son sharing how they will be leaving for Africa for mission work in the wilderness next month. As I spent some time with my pastor and mentor Dave Long a few days later we spoke of how he will be visiting them in April.
- We spent more time planning for our outreach in April when a pastor from Ireland will be here preaching in Kokomo.
- We prayed yet again for the work of the church in Australia, where another son of the congregation lives and a dear friend of mine pastors.
- Yesterday Vic Bernales, a seminary student from the Philippines, preached here. Later that night, his family stayed with us and in my office he spoke to our mutual friend Ojie Bicaldo in Davao City in Mindanao over my computer on Skype.
“Tell of His glory among the nations, His wonderful deeds among all the peoples” (Psalm 96:3). What a privilege being a son of Abraham in the age of Christ is!